Pragmatism versus the Talmudic Process in Reform Judaism: The Minyan as Case Study?

Introduction The minyan, the required quorum of ten adult Jews needed for public prayer, has constituted a core component of Jewish life throughout the millennia. In the context of communal worship, the minyan represents a microcosm of the entirety of the Jewish people, whose primary spiritual experiences are public and communal. the notion of the … Read more

Did Moses Intermarry? Who Says He Did—and Why Do They Want To Know?

Rabbi Leon Morris and Prof. Steven Cohen, Tablet, February 4, 2014 Moses’ marriage has become the subject of much speculation in Reform circles recently. The websites of some of the most prominent outreach organizations in Jewish life, such as the Jewish Outreach Institute,Interfaith Family, and the Union for Reform Judaism all feature pieces about the … Read more

Religion matters: Beware the American Cultural Jew

Ha’aretz, October 9th, 2013 When being culturally ‘Jew-ish’ in America means little more than lox and bagels and a vague duty to repair the world, Israel should also be worried. The recent Pew Study revealed that 22 percent of American Jews describe themselves as having “no religion” (up from just 7 percent a decade ago). … Read more

The End of Liturgical Reform as We Know It: Creative Retrieval as a New Paradigm

Rabbi Leon A. Morris (originally published in CCAR, Summer, 2013) Prayer book reform was always one of the most significant and defining features of Reform Judaism in both Europe and America. While some reforms of the liturgy were driven by practical concerns, such as abbreviating the service or removing passages that were deemed to be inconsistent with … Read more

The Calves of Our Lips: The Inescapable Connections between Prayer and Sacrifice

Rabbi Leon A. Morris Published in the summer of 2013 in CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly. See here for a PDF of the article. The notion of sacrificial offerings was an anathema in the shaping of a modern Jewish life. Since the earliest days of Reform Judaism, those most ancient forms of divine service were … Read more